Macclesfield Town secured a vital point in their fight for Sky Bet League Two survival with an excellent 1-1 draw away to Lincoln City.
The Silkmen fought valiantly and were good value for their superb result away to the league-leaders as Scott Wilson’s 28th minute strike was cancelled out by Neal Eardley’s free-kick.
Sol Campbell’s side began proceedings on the backfoot as Lincoln, who have not lost a league game since December, sprang out of the traps and looked to test the resolve of the Silkmen defence.
Kieran O’Hara stood up to the test, with the Manchester United loanee producing a heroic reflex save to parry John Akinde’s goal-bound effort away from danger.
Macclesfield soon began to impose themselves upon the game and were linking up neatly within Lincoln territory. Wilson collected the ball out wide on the left before driving into the penalty area, and the forward teed the ball off to the on-rushing David Fitzpatrick, who’s ferocious first-time effort grazed the top of the crossbar.
O’Hara had to be on hand again after 18 minutes when Akinde found himself free at the back post, but the goalkeeper scrambled across his line to deny the striker from breaking the deadlock.
With the pace of Wilson and Ben Stephens lurking on the shoulders of Lincoln’s backline, the Silkmen looked to make good use of their counter-attacking threat and it almost paid dividends 21 minutes in when O’Hara launched the ball forward for Elliot Durrell to flick on. Reece Cole latched onto Durrell’s cushioned header and he distributed the ball out wide to Michael Rose, who in return switched it back to Durrell, but his strike was excellently blocked by Harry Toffolo.
The Silkmen evolved into the game and their growing confidence finally bore fruit on the 28-minute-mark when Durrell capitalised on a misplaced backwards header from Bruno Andrade and raced towards goal before finding Wilson free in the area, and the striker made no mistake as he smashed in his 10th league goal of the season.
Unsurprisingly, Danny Cowley’s outfit looked to make an immediate response, and it took great awareness and positioning by Fiacre Kelleher to read the danger and make a heroic clearance from Harry Anderson’s flick on.
Lincoln equalised via a sublime free-kick from full-back Neal Eardley, who’s curling effort nestled into the top left corner. The free-kick originated from a miscommunication amongst the Silkmen midfield, which enabled Andrade to break and the winger was eventually brought down by Nathan Cameron on the edge of the area.
After seeing themselves through to the end of the opening period, Macclesfield initially struggled to assert themselves at the start of the second-half but finally mustered a decent opportunity 60 minutes in when Stephens and Wilson combined deep in Lincoln territory, giving the latter the opportunity to strike at goal but Wilson snatched at his effort.
The width of Sincil Bank’s pitch allowed plenty of space for full-backs to advance in, and Fitzpatrick optimised that space on the 67th minute mark when he bamboozled his way past two defenders before playing in Wilson, but an excellent recovery tackle from Eardley denied Wilson from making it goal number 11 for the season.
A number of late collisions and the element of fatigue began to creep into Sol Campbell’s team, but they fought courageously to keep the hosts at bay. The central defensive trio of Cameron, Kelleher and Zac Jules barely put a foot wrong as they dealt with the physical threats of Akinde and Matthew Rhead.
James Pearson, who had made a number of lung-busting runs down the right-hand side for most of the afternoon, was inches away from producing the spectacular as he hit a sublime volley that looked to be dipping into top corner before Matt Gilks somehow managed to tip the ball behind for a corner – a goal of the season contender if it had of gone in.
With the presence of Rhead up front, Lincoln launched a continuous cycle of long balls towards the Silkmen area, however once again the Macclesfield defensive line dealt with each situation excellently and O’Hara was on hand to collect any loose ball that bounced through.
Five minutes of injury time could not deter Campbell’s side from gaining what could be an extremely valuable point come the end of the season, with Macclesfield now holding a three-game unbeaten run ahead of a crucial home clash against Morecambe next week.
By Jaquob Crooke